British wrestling is on the agenda once again as we make a return journey to the world of Progress Wrestling and the promotional debut of a former TNA star, among other things, as featured on the DVD release of Chapter Eight: The Big Boys Guide to Strong Style.
Disc one began with former TNA star (but not the one I was talking about) Mark Haskins of the Screw Indy Wrestling faction taking on Stixx.
We had lots of posturing at the beginning of this one, with Haskins threatening to do all sorts of unmentionable things to Stixx before he tried to avoid any sort of physical contact with the big man.
Stixx eventually caught up with him and treated him to a few chops before Haskins took the upper hand and worked over his man’s left arm, even applying an arm bar in the audience in an attempt to get the count out win.
Haskins then took the animosity up a notch when he spat water into Stixx’s face. It was a move that the big man would later return in kind while applying an abdominal stretch.
From there Haskins began to work over his man’s arm again, only for Stixx to power his way back into the match as he took Haskins down with a boss man slam before applying a cloverleaf for the submission win.
The singles action continued with the first Natural Progression Series semi-final as Lord Jonathan Windsor faced Mark Andrews.
The last time I saw Windsor I wasn’t exactly impressed with his performance, which was probably the only time I haven’t been impressed with anything to do with Progress. This time around though it was a whole different story, because this was one of those short and sweet encounters that was pretty enjoyable.
It was the story of the technician versus the high flyer. Windsor, whose offence seems to be part Regal, part McGuinness, controlled the early going with some nice technical moves. Andrews was able to hold his own in these exchanges, but whenever he tried to shift up a few gears Windsor kept him at a more sedate pace.
However, it wasn’t long before Andrews finally shifted through the gears with some impressive moves. It was a joy to watch the kid in action, and as they brought out the big guns in their quest for a spot in the final it was Andrews who took the win after taking Windsor down with a shooting star press.
Then it was on to the no weapons last man standing match as Danny Garnell took on Rob Lynch of the London Riots.
Before the match began Garnell’s buddy Jimmy Havoc warned Lynch’s partner James Davis to stay out of the match or else. Well, that’s kind of what he said. I can’t repeat his words exactly because this review appears on some family friendly sites.
Anyway, when I saw that it was going to be a no weapons last man standing match I have to admit that I had my doubts as to whether these two could pull it off, and although there were a couple of dodgy moments they did.
Basically what we had here were two big blokes beating the proverbial out of each other. Wear-down holds weren’t required in this one. They beat each other up with forearms, punches, kicks and chops, and when they didn’t do that they suplexed the hell out of each other.
The holy you know what moment came when both men were jockeying for position on the top rope. Lynch knocked Garnell off with a back elbow, but Garnell jumped right back up then and took Lynch down with a back superplex that saw Lynch do a complete 360 before he crashed to the mat.
That particular move didn’t get the job done though, and inevitably Davis got into the ring to try and help his buddy, only for Havoc to throw a chair into his face for his troubles.
A few moments later Garnell kicked his offence into top gear when he took Lynch down with a quartet of suplexes of various varieties. Both guys laid on that mat, Garnell exhausted, and Lynch almost unconscious, as the referee made his count, and although Garnell managed to make it back to his feet Lynch failed, giving Garnell the win.
Afterwards both men received a standing ovation from the fans in attendance, and rightfully show.
The next encounter started immediately afterwards as Jimmy Havoc faced the other half of the London Riots James Davis in a hardcore match.
Those of a nervous disposition probably won’t want to watch this one. But those who like to see two blokes beating the hell out of each with anything they can get their hands on will.
Havoc returned to his death match leanings in this one as he took Davis to the proverbial woodshed and beyond. Nothing was out of bounds for him. He hit him with a chair, put him through a board propped up in the corner, slammed him on a pile of drawing pins (that’s thumb tacks to you Americans), as well as smashing several light tubes over his man’s head.
During this somewhat one-sided onslaught Havoc took to the microphone a couple of times to ask for a beer and to also ask the fans if he should continue dishing out the punishment. By this time Davis looked like a beaten man, but the fans wanted the match continue, and continue it did.
Slowly but surely Davis made his comeback, and it wasn’t long before Havoc was a bloody mess when Davis slammed his mid-section onto some more light tubes. He then tapped even more of the tubes onto the ring post before whipping him into them. Oh, and let’s not forget that he back dropped Havoc over the top rope and through a table as well.
These two really were beating the you know what out of each other, and the holy you know what chant soon became a chant about intercourse in the kingdom of Hades when Davis took a lemon and squeezed the juice into the open cuts on Havoc’s back. And I don’t mean that in a Robert Plant/Led Zeppelin kind of way.
Havoc soon made his comeback, and after he perched another board between two chairs he asked the fans for their opinions again. It wouldn’t have mattered what they said because Davis countered whatever Havoc had in mind and powerbombed him through the wood. It still wasn’t enough to put Havoc away though.
In the end it was good old fashioned steel that did the job. Numerous chair shots to Havoc’s head followed, and it was only then that Davis was able to get the winning pin.
His commitments to Progress over, Davis went straight back to the dressing rooms while the fans gave Havoc a standing ovation as he staggered back to his feet so he could finally finish that beer.
Disc two began with three way action between Eddie Dennis, Darrell Allen and the debuting former TNA star Doug Williams.
Now this was good. All three guys put in good performances here, with the two younger men showing that they were more than capable of hanging with someone as good as Williams.
We had some nice three way action early on before it settled down into a series of one on one encounters, beginning with Dennis against Allen before Williams carried the lion’s share of the load and put on a couple of technical clinics with his opponents.
Afterwards it kicked into overdrive a little as all three men entered the match and brought out their big moves. Williams almost took Allen out with his chaos theory suplex, while Dennis almost got the win after God’s last gift. But in the end it was Williams who came out on top, shoving Allen off the top rope after they jockeyed for position before coming off the top himself with the bomb scare knee drop.
Afterwards all three men were given the third standing ovation of the evening.
The penultimate match saw Project Ego’s Martin Kirby and Kris Travis taking on the Hunter Brothers, Lee & Jim.
Before the match began Travis took to the microphone to complain about the somewhat colourful language used at Progress shows. He then went on to suggest a few alternatives, which led to the crowd chanting “Fudge him up Travis! Fudge him up!”
Well, this one certainly raised a few miles. It was one of those short and sweet encounters that had a little of everything, some nice comedy stylings early on, an appearance by a harmonica, and some nice performances from all involved.
There was, of course, some wrestling as well, and after the Ego boys isolated Lee (or was it Jim?) for the punching bag treatment (including the spot with the aforementioned harmonica) Lee (or Jim) made it back to the corner for the hot tag, signalling the start of the all four men flying and jumping all over the place segment.
This was where things got a little bit more serious as both teams began to pull out all the stops. There were several near falls until the Egos took Jim (or Lee) down with their T gimmick finisher for the winning pin.
The main event saw Screw Indy Wrestling’s Rampage Brown, accompanied by Mark Haskins, challenging El Ligero for the Progress Wrestling title.
Now this was a far more serious encounter, and quite a heated one as well. As soon as the match began Haskins tried to interfere by holding Ligero’s leg, and after the opening exchanges the protagonists soon began to brawl all around the hall, through the fans, into the bar, and eventually onto the stage where Rampage powerbombed the masked man onto the security team below.
Eventually they made it back to the ring, and what followed was an intense power versus speed battle. Rampage looked like a killer as he tried to put Ligero away, only for the champion to come back time and time again.
The holy you know what moment came when Ligero tried to take Rampage down with a top rope hurricanrana. Rampage held on though and countered with an awesome looking top rope powerbomb.
But when he didn’t get the three count from the resulting pin he began to threaten the referee. It was only the intervention of Haskins that stopped him from attacking the official as he reminded Rampage that to win the title he should concentrate on Ligero.
So when Rampage turned his attention back to his opponent he was immediately met by a Ligero superkick. It could have been all over then had Haskins not pulled the referee out of the ring as he counted Ligero’s pin.
Moments later a mis-communication saw Rampage barge into Haskins on the ring apron, but that minor distraction was forgotten about a few moments later when Rampage took Ligero down with a piledriver. A pin and a three count later and we had a new champion.
Disc two is where you’ll find the extras, Counting with Ref Paz, the Defend Indy Wrestling Shopping Channel, and the always watchable show introduction from co-owner/ring announcer/d***head (their words not mine) Jim Smallman.
In conclusion – I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, but I really am running out of ways to praise what these guys are doing.
Not since I reviewed an Aussie promotion called Wrestlerock a few years back have I seen a company put out so many great shows in a row and in such a short space of time, because that’s what these guys have done again.
This show had a little bit of everything, and so many great moments that it would take me ages to go through them all.
As for my match of the night it has to be said that all of them were in contention for the prestigious no-prize, but in the end I’ve decided to give it to the Havoc/Davis hardcore match.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give Progress Chapter Eight the big thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. For more information on how to purchase a copy of this show visit www.progresswrestling.com.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!